The first Wine & Art Fest was held in 2006 at the Sacred Heart Church Hall and due to the large participation it was moved to the Wilson County Show barn on HWY 97 in Floresville. It was a huge success raising over $25,000.00 in funds. The guests were treated to an excellent dinner and appetizers including a variety of cheeses. A wonderful selection of wine and desserts topped off the night. The awesome music by “Small Town Habit” entertained us featuring local talents Charlie Franklin and his wife Crystal. One of the highlights for me was a demonstration by John Karger of Last Chance Forever bird sanctuary. He and his assistant Kelley brought a Lanner Falcon from Africa and a Barn Owl that had been orphaned at birth. Our dear friends Bruce and Betty Dueley donated art and photography which brought in several hundred dollars in the live auction. The Dueley’s joined us at the ranch for Karaoke after the event which made the night even more fun!!!!!
“What in the world is she doing in there?” The horses are looking through the window into my studio wondering why their breakfast is late……it’s not that they NEED to be fed. It’s just comfort food to compliment their gourmet pasture salad that they were bred to thrive on. A carrot or two and a scoop of sweet feed is what keeps them spoiled…..So, in the meantime I’m trying to complete at least one pastel painting a day to get ready for an art show/benefit that we are planning for our friends at Last Chance Forever the birds of prey rescue and rehabilitation center in San Antonio……
Pobresito Bujo! Poor little owl. She was orphaned as a brancher. One that was a fledgling that could not yet fly. Due to permanent injuries, she is unable to survive in her natural habitat in the wild, but she is not in pain and serves as a ambassador for Last Chance Forever a rapter sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates all birds of prey, including eagles, hawks, vultures, owls, falcons. The sanctuary is a 501c non profit organization that is always in need of donations. We are planning a benefit in the fall. For more information and assistance in the event that you should find a rapter in need of help. Their web-site is:
This did it for me…..Seeing a baby vulture that thought she had been rescued and gone to heaven when Last Chance Forever answered the call that brought her to the sanctuary. A hunter entering a deer blind was startled by huge flapping wings and shot the mother without realizing that she was protecting her nest in a dark corner of the shelter. He discovered the little baseball sized ball of buff covered down in the nest shivering and scared to death. His kind nature led him to change his plans for the day and seek out someone to help give this little rapter a chance.With our involvement through the years with John Karger, the master falconer and veterinarian technician who started the rescue center, we have been able to acquire a respect and awe of these birds as well as the staff that dedicates hours and hours to their well being. Of the 150 to 300 birds of prey that are brought into the center each year, from 65 to 80 percent of them are able to be released back into the wild. Melissa Hill is the primary veterinarian with the gift to perform delicate surgeries that few animal physicians would even attempt.
The birds are not given names and are not treated to respond to humans as pets. All attempts to ready them for life in their natural habitat are insured. Those who have suffered permanent disabilities that would prohibit their survival in the wild, yet are not in pain, are used in extensive educational programs throughout the year. Children and our ecology are especially important to John and Melissa. These programs have educated over 500,000 people each year since the inception of the Rapter Rescue.
Not one to ever spoil an animal whether furry or feathered, I can’t help but seek out a few that I have unavoidably bonded with. They have names, but I just whisper them to myself…..
When your much loved pet is sick or injured you would do anything to insure the best possible care and a speedy recovery. But would you or could you care for about 150 to 300 orphaned or injured birds in a year? We are not talking cute little parrots or love birds. How about hawks and vultures and other birds of prey? Up until 1971 a bounty was paid for shooting a hawk. They were getting a bad rap from farmers for killing chickens. Eagles have been known to kill sheep, but to wipe out a whole species has proven to be detrimental to the planet. Through the educational efforts of Last Chance Forever, a raptor sanctuary, the public is gaining knowledge as to the benefits that these birds contribute to our environment. Demonstrations by LCF held throughout the United States provide a means to enlighten 500,000 people each year to the role that these raptors play as indicators of our ecological health. Master Falconer and Veterinarian Technician, John Karger founded the organization in 1978. Each year due to the care these orphaned, sick or injured birds receive, 65 to 80% of them are able to be released back into their natural environment. Surgery and medical care is provided for these birds by Melissa Hill, the highly skilled veterinarian for LCF. Raptors that are rescued, but sustain injuries that prohibit them from surviving in the wild, are used as ambassadors to increase awareness of their virtues to the public. During one of the exhibitions conducted by the staff of Last Chance Forever, we were treated to a demonstration which included a Red Tailed Hawk, a Harris Hawk, a Bald Eagle and a Great Horned Owl. On another occasion we were able to see a Lanner Falcon and a Barn Owl. Superstitions and myths surrounding owls were dispelled for me, the first time I looked into the eyes of this beautiful female barn owl that had been rescued as an orphaned owlet. She appeared healthy and strong, but malnutrition that she experienced before her rescue had caused a deformity that would prevent her from flying and surviving outside the sanctuary.
Information and advice for anyone who needs assistance in aiding wildlife of any kind can be found at their web-site Lastchanceforever.org. They primarily provide care for Birds of Prey, but are able to direct you to organizations that will help other species of birds and animals.
Our 4th Of July included a return visit from two Crested Cara Caras. Often they are waiting on the fence post for us to bring them a treat. We talked about our habit of feeding these raptors to our friend John Karger. John founded a refuge for injured or orphaned Birds Of Prey which includes eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures and owls. The veterinarian care and rehabilitation that they receive enables 65 to 80% of the birds that are taken in to be released back into their natural habitat. John stated that as long as we did not make a daily habit of feeding these falcons, they would not become dependent on us for their total diet. As a Veterinarian Technician and Falconer, John has provided education and awareness of these raptors through the Last Chance Forever Sanctuary since 1978. During on of our visits with John we learned that the Crested Cara Cara eat primarily carrion along side vultures, but will also hunt birds and rodents. “I give them 30 seconds before they come” Tom said yesterday when our friends were gathered around for the air show. “Chilly and Willy” as we have come to call them were nowhere in sight at this point, but it was less than a minute before they appeared to entertain us. Known as the National Bird of Mexico or the Mexican Eagle, our amigos were more than willing join in our Independence Day celebration.